I went to the Universal backlot for my wardrobe fitting at 7:30AM on Tuesday. I was told that there would be a shuttle, but I had to wait in the cold parking lot for about 10 minutes before it came. I wear a size 14 (and that was on my size-card). Wardrobe had pulled everything from a size 8 to a size 16 for me. I couldn't figure that one out. It was cold as I-don't-know-what in the trailer, but I figured I would try on clothes for a couple of hours, then get into my nice, warm car and drive to the NAACP to get some work done so I could meet my Wednesday deadline. To my surprise, after my fitting (I ended up with a skirt and a jacket with enough room on the side to smuggle a small child out of the country), I was told that I should prepare to "hang out all day" for the rehearsal. I, along with LOTS of other actors pulled out our cell phones immediately & started calling our agents. Nobody knew about the rehearsal. A couple of people were told that there might be a rehearsal, but production never called with specifics. I had NO idea. I went to craft services & they had run out of coffee. I walked back to the trailer, and someone came in eating peanuts (I'm allergic). So I went outside. Anyway, we were told that if we didn't rehearse, we couldn't be in the spot. I stayed, and though I had on a heavy sweater, it was no match for the weather and I (who get cold easily anyway) was FREEZING. "Lee" (one of the PAs) was kind enough to give me his heavy jacket for the day. Chivalry is alive. Bless you, Lee.
Next surprise: We were informed that we would be doing manual labor. The spot required us to carry lamp posts, fountains, push cars, handle pigeons, butterflies, car parts...you name it. Most of my day was spent in the cold, carrying a lamp post from one side of the set to the other. Color me S-A-L-T-Y. After 10 hours in the cold, we were released & told to come back at 6:30AM the next day for the shoot. (Did I say it was cold??) I wanted to go home and sleep, but I had to try to catch up on my NAACP work, so I went to bed around 1AM. ;o(
WEDNESDAY: Got there early and was happy to see that there was a shuttle waiting for me and the other actors. The shuttle took us up the hill to the catering truck/ craft services, so we could get a hot breakfast. My BLT was off the hook! I had the beginnings of a cold, so I drank lots of tea & went to my trailer. Excuse me, the trailer I shared with another actress: Sahar Bibyian. She was real cool people. Kinda like an Iranian soul-sista. The trailer was cold and dark (generator went out), and she was really sick. To make matters worse, it started to rain. I dreaded the thought of coming back a third day in the cold. Honestly, have you ever been so cold you thought you'd never get warm again? Combine that with stress, fatigue and a sore throat, and that's how I felt. Yes, I was being paid, but it really bothered me that things seemed to be so off-kilter and nobody was even addressing the situations. I must say everyone was nice, so I tried to perk up, but felt like I wasn't doing a good job of it. The highlights were talking to some cool people, and lunch (delish).
Anyhoo, I made it through the day. My duty of carrying the lightpost was changed, so now I was pushing a car from one side of the set to the other. Good times. I was at the top of the spot, right in front of the camera so I know they can't edit me out, and my mother will see me. (Hi mom!)
I went home, did as little work as I could get away with doing, then readied myself for bed. Before going to bed I had to adjust my attitude. Really. I had to talk to myself: "Nicole, you are a working actress in Los Angeles. Do you know how many people are clamoring for this? On a national commercial, no less. Yes, you've been cold for 2 days, and yes you're sick & tired, but you will live. The spot is going to be beautiful, and you're going to be happy. Go to bed, sleep well, and wake up renewed, refreshed, and excited about this experience."
THURSDAY: I woke up. It was cold. I put on more layers and packed a blanket. I got to the set and the shuttle was waiting. I got on it, had my breakfast, and went to my trailer. My roommate had not arrived yet. I turned the radio to a classical station, and turned on all of the lights, pleased that the generator was working and it was warmer than it had been the previous day. I had packed construction paper, scissors, tape strips, and a Sharpie. I made personalized stars to tape on our trailer door to make us feel special. When Sahar arrived, she told me that she was feeling better, and she been moved to a different trailer. I got dressed and was called to set. "No rehearsal, just shooting." We were taken to a holding tent, and thank the LORD there were heaters (plus I had my blanket). We ran it about 6 times, had (another delicious) lunch, then ran it about 6 more times. After each time we got to view it on the monitor. The spot is visually stunning. I got more and more excited.
The sun came out, and it turned out to be a very nice day. I didn't feel well, but if we could have had one more day just like that, I wouldn't have minded one bit.
I intend to keep in contact with a couple of people that I met, and I can hardly wait to see the finished product. All's well that ends well.
I have learned the importance of attitude. Yes, I had every right to be upset, but it didn't make anything better, and I felt funky for two days.
I am a working actress in Los Angeles where the job-to-actor ratio is ugly. I am living my dream, and if I don't allow myself to experience it fully, I am a fool.
My mama ain't raise no fool. ;o)